sketchbook

Summer Sketches

Hi there. How are you?

The summer months are a notoriously unproductive time for me. It’s hard for me to be inside when the weather is nice and things at my day job get insanely busy. My studio sat empty for most of June, July, and August.

I also have to be in the right headspace to make. It was a tough summer for me personally, which also contributed to my lack of production.

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t making, but it was mainly confined to my sketchbook, and done in fits and starts. It’s important for me to keep up my creative practice. Without it, I just don’t feel myself.

Here’s how I snuck in some drawing time:

Ballpoint & marker drawings from May 2019.

Ballpoint & marker drawings from May 2019.

I drew on the job.

I worked on these drawings while attending a conference. If someone is talking, I was drawing. It keeps me focused on what they’re saying. I’m still deeply enamored with my Parker Pen.

Ballpoint and marker drawings from June 2019.

Ballpoint and marker drawings from June 2019.

I drew on the couch.

If you’ve seen my Instagram Stories, you’ve probably seen me “couch drawing.” If I’m sitting on the couch, watching TV at night, I’m usually drawing in my sketchbook. Sometimes I try to take videos while I’m drawing so you can see my process. (Find some of those videos in my stories highlights.)

A loose drawing made on a road trip.

A loose drawing made on a road trip.

I drew in the car.

(I wasn’t driving.) I made this very loose sketch as a passenger on a road trip. It was the first time in a long time I drew with a Pilot pen. I used these all the time when I was making my coloring books.

I made this ballpoint drawing while on vacation in San Diego this summer.

I made this ballpoint drawing while on vacation in San Diego this summer.

I drew when I traveled.

I did this one while visiting my brother and his wife in San Diego. Airports, airplanes, and beaches are great places for me to sneak in some drawing time.

Drawings made with Bic Cristal ballpoints purchased from the UK. Click for purchase information.

Drawings made with Bic Cristal ballpoints purchased from the UK. Click for purchase information.

I experimented with new pens.

A student in my Jen & Ink Ballpoint course turned me on to a set of Bic Cristal Ballpoints from the UK that included some new colors. (There’s even a gold!) When I have new supplies, I just have to try em’ out! These drawings were the first I’d none in a while with anything other than a black pen. Unfortunately, these pens are out of stock on Amazon. But hopefully, they’ll be available again in the future.

Ballpoint drawings from July 2019.

Ballpoint drawings from July 2019.

Most importantly, I stuck with it.

Drawing can bring me a lot of peace. It’s almost meditative for me. I drew when I wanted and didn’t worry about the outcome. There are some drawings I made this summer that will never get finished and I’ll never share. That’s perfectly OK.

As Emily Jeffords says, I “do it for the process.”⠀

I encourage you to make if it brings you joy. You don’t have to share it or show it to anyone. Do it for yourself.

What do you do, just for the process?

What do you do, just for you, to bring you joy?

Do tell.

That’s all for now.

Ciao, Jen

* HEADS UP: As an Amazon Influencer, I earn a small commission when you purchase the pens I've listed here with Amazon links. It's a small way to support the work I do without any cost to you. (Thank you!)

Sketchbook Tour - Spring 2018

Hi there. How are you? 

As spring is quickly turning to summer in Southern Illinois, I thought it was a good time to look back and share my sketchbook with you. It's fun to see the work that I've created in my trusty Moleskine over the past 4 months.

These drawings account for hours and HOURS of work. I work for days, even weeks on one page. It's hard to estimate the exact number of hours I put into a drawing, as they're done over many days. Let's say I average at least 8 hours per drawing.

* The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. If you click and purchase I will get a small portion of the sale at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.

So, without any further adieu, here's my sketchbook.

Ballpoint drawings by Jennifer Johansson made with a Yoobi 8-in-one pen. 

Yoobi Experiments

I got to experiment with my new Yoobi pen this spring. I will definitely be taking this 8-in-one pen with me to Europe this summer. On top of being ultra portable, the ink is really nice and smooth. 

Ballpoint experiments by Jennifer Johansson for a custom wedding invitation. 

Wedding Work

I've been working on invitations for my brother's upcoming wedding. These were both experiments for the actual invitation, which has a desert/succulent theme.  It was fun to work in one of my most favorite of color schemes. 

And before you ask, the burgundy pen is a Pentel RVSP. I've only been able to find these on Amazon. I suspect that they might not be manufactured any longer as they're about $5.50 a pop! But that color is pretty darn great, so I gave in and bought. 

I experimented with the Perfecto pens that a patron sent to me from the Netherlands. 

Going Neon with Perfecto Pens

I also experimented with my Perfecto ballpoint set that a generous patron sent me from the Netherlands. (Thank you Natasja!)  The colors are so vibrant, especially the orange! These photos just don't do it justice.

*I would link to these Perfecto pens if I could find them anywhere on the internet, but alas, they are nowhere to be found. 

These patriotic ballpoint drawings are destined to become backgrounds for voter postcards.

Destined to be Postcards

I got a little patriotic with these two. Both were drawn to be backgrounds for voter postcards. You can see how I used the bottom drawing here. 

My most recent ballpoint sketches.

My Most Recent Work

These are my most recent sketches. The blue one has become the background for my new Kentucky state print. 

Ballpoint drawings by Jennifer Johansson. 

The Oddballs

I started the black drawing on top when I was particularly frustrated. I don't even remember why I was frustrated, I just know I needed to start drawing without any thought behind it. It's a weirdo, but I like it. 

I set out early in the year to make some large drawings outside of my sketchbook to submit to some museum shows. I made this one above, but I'm not so sure how I feel about it. 


This concludes our Spring 2018 Sketchbook Tour.

I hope you enjoyed it. I'm about to leave for a week on the beach, which usually means lots of time for sketch booking. Stay tuned! 

Before you leave.......Wanna keep in touch? 

Join my email list and you'll have access to a hyper lapse video of my drawing process. 

2017 Sketchbook Flip-Through

Hi there. How are you?

I recently used the last page in my current sketchbook.

It's fun to look back at all the drawings I've completed over the past 9 months in my trusty Moleskine. It's even good for me to look back at the failed drawings too. I've even gone back and reworked those once abandoned pages. (See a great example of that HERE.) 

I made a quick video of myself flipping through my 2017 sketchbook. I thought you'd be interested to see all 40 of the finished drawings along with the unfinished as well. 

So without any further adieu,

Here's the sketchbook flip through video, warts and all:

Click that arrow to start the video!

If you liked this, do check out and subscribe to my YouTube channel. There you can see all of my process videos. It is my intention to add more in the coming months . 

Well, that's all for now. Ciao!